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The Life and Influence 


Dr. John Tomline Walsh 



Copyright, 1942, by 
Griffith Askew Hamlin 

The Life and Influence 


Dr. John Tomline Walsh 


Griffith Askew hamlin 


To the many who have contributed in any way to this 
work, the writer wishes to express his profound grati- 
tude. It is impossible to acknowledge by name the many 
who aided with this study. He especially wishes to 
acknowledge the assistance of Mr. Charles Crossfield 
Ware, Executive Secretary of the Disciples of Christ in 
North Carolina and Curator of the Archives of the North 
Carolina Disciples of Christ. Without access to his ex- 
cellent collection of material on the history of the Disciples 
this study would have been impossible. Appreciation is 
also given to Mr. George Hackney of Wilson, N. C. for his 
personal impressions of Dr. Walsh. Acknowledgment is 
also given to the Library of the University of North 
Carolina, The State Library at Raleigh, and the Library of 
Atlantic Christian College. To these and many others 
who aided in various ways, the writer expresses his grati- 
tude for making this study possible. 

G. A. H. 

Wilson, N. C. 
March 1, 1942 


Chapter Page 

Introduction 5 

I The Background of the Disciples of Christ 

in North Carolina 7 

II The Life of Dr. John Tomline Walsh 17 

III The Contribution of Dr. Walsh to the 

Disciples of Christ in North Carolina 27 

Bibliography 45 


One of the men who stood out in leadership among the 
Disciples of Christ in North Carolina from 1852 to 1886 
was Dr. John Tomline Walsh. The purpose of this study- 
is to examine his influence on religious education, in the 
broader sense of the term, during those years. 

When Dr. Walsh was called to North Carolina as an 
Evangelist in 1852 the Disciples of Christ had been in 
existence as a body in that state less than ten years. 
The ministry was of a low educational level; Sunday 
schools were rare; and the Church as a Brotherhood in 
the State had very little organizational efficiency. In this 
early period Dr. Walsh worked as an evangelist, edu- 
cator, writer, and organizer with such impact as to lift 
the level of the Disciples of Christ and to lead them into 
a new era of progressiveness. 

The main source of material for this study are the 
writings of Dr. Walsh which he edited periodically from 
the beginning of his work in the State until his death. 
These were his central avenues of expression and of 
disseminating his ideas and attitudes throughout the 
State. Most of the time these periodicals were the official 
organ of the Disciples of Christ in North Carolina. 

The method of approach to this study is historical and 
descriptive. It will trace, first, the background and 
growth of the Disciples of Christ in North Carolina to the 
time of Dr. Walsh's entrance into the State. Secondly, it 
will make a brief sketch of the life of Dr. Walsh and the 
environment that helped to shape his life. Finally, it will 
explore more particularly the work of Dr. Walsh in the 
fields of educating and improving the ministry, the general 
religious education of the constituency, and in organizing 
the Disciples of Christ in North Carolina so as to be more 
effective in their task both at home and abroad. 

This study is an abridgment of a thesis submitted in 
fulfillment for the degree of Master of Religious Edu- 
cation at the College of the Bible, Lexington, Kentucky. 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 

Chapter I 


Out of the philosophies of the American and French 
revolution, which focused attention upon religious prac- 
tices and dogma, there grew dissatisfaction and conten- 
tions within the various denominations in North Carolina 
as elsewhere in the United States. From these dissatis- 
fied elements the Disciples of Christ drew their member- 
ship. In 1809 Thomas Campbell of Brush Run, Pennsyl- 
vania, published his DECLARATION AND ADDRESS 
calling for all Christians "to strive for a brotherly union 
under the leadership of Christ, and the sheer efficiency of 
the Scriptures as an adequate guide." His son, Alexander, 
in 1809 arrived from Scotland and became an ardent 
champion of these ideals. By 1833 the Movement had 
attracted attention throughout the Union. Alexander 
Campbell started THE CHRISTIAN BAPTIST in 1823, 
and in 1826 the earliest item from North Carolina ap- 
peared in its columns. 1 

The State's outstanding gift to the early Movement was 
in the person of Barton W. Stone. Stone was a product 
of North Carolina in the sense that it was in that State 
that he received all of his higher education and his ordi- 
nation into the ministry. He was born at Port Tobacco, 
Maryland, December 24, 1772. At the age of seven his 
family located near Danville, Virginia, only about two 
miles from the North Carolina line. In 1790, while he was 
a student in the home of Dr. David Caldwell, Stone heard 
the popular evangelist James McGready. Something 
awakened in Stone and he became greatly disturbed. The 
next year Stone heard the Presbyterian minister, William 
Hodge. Shortly afterwards, he began to study for the 
ministry under Hodge. In 1796 Stone was recognized by 
the Orange Presbytery of North Carolina, and began as 
a volunteer missionary. However, Stone left very soon 
for the Western Frontier. Then it was that he went to 
Kentucky and joined the Transylvania Presbytery. This 
association was short lived, however, and by 1804 Stone 


The Life and Influence of 

and others were advocating having no creed but the 
Bible, assuming the name of Christian, and preaching 
Christian Union. 

David Purviance, who had united with the Stone forces 
in 1803, was the first to preach the faith of the Stone 
Movement in North Carolina. Purviance moved to Ken- 
tucky and Ohio in 1805. 

Another pioneer of the "Restoration Movement," and 
one who was connected with North Carolina for a longer 
period of time, was Joseph Thomas. He was called the 
"White Pilgrim" because he wore a long white robe during 
much of his ministry. Thomas was born in Alamance 
County, North Carolina, March 7, 1791. In 1807 he made 
an open confession of faith, and determined to preach the 
Gospel. Yet, he could not decide with which religious 
group to affiliate. He could not unite with the Methodists 
because he could not subscribe to their discipline or the 
authority of the bishop. Neither could he join the Free 
Will Baptists because they would baptize him only into 
that Church; and there were also articles of their faith 
that he could not accept. Neither could he be a Presby- 
terian because their confession of faith had certain 
articles which he could not fully accept as being in 
harmony with what he had learned from the New Testa- 
ment. He also disagreed with their requirement to study 
in a theological school. At last he found a preacher of 
the "Christian Connection" under the leadership of James 

In 1807 Thomas attended a meeting of Christian 
ministers in Raleigh, North Carolina. O'Kelly was 
present. Thomas had sought baptism by immersion, but 
O'Kelly persuaded him that affusion was the mode. 
Thomas consented, but remained provoked in his thoughts 
concerning baptism, and at last on July, 1811, near 
Philadelphia, Pennsylvnia, he was immersed by Frederick 
Plummer, who was of the Eastern branch of the Christian 
Connection. Immediately, Thomas was ordained to the 

He preached at many places in North Carolina. Among 
those places were communities around Edenton, Tarboro, 

Dr. John Tomline Walsh 


New Bern, Fayetteville, and Raleigh. When he was per- 
secuted so severely in his home community of Hawfields 
that he could not preach in any church building, he 
erected stands upon his own land for the crowds to hear 
his message. 2 Thomas believed in immersion only for 
baptism. He practiced open communion, and feet wash- 
ing as a religious ceremony — as did many of the early 
Disciples of Christ in North Carolina. 

James O'Kelly who withdrew from the Methodist 
Episcopal Church in 1792 also made converts who called 
themselves Christian. He organized the Republican 
Methodist Church which he later called the Christian 
Church, but this group never united with the Disciples of 
Christ. Within recent years, however, this communion 
has united with the Congregational Christians. O'Kelly's 
group was democratic in polity, having "no rules but the 
Scriptures" and "the Lord Jesus for their Head and 

Although associated with the discontented elements in 
both the Presbyterian and Methodist Churches, the 
Disciples came to have more in common with the Baptists. 
Beginning with Thomas Campbell's visit to Eastern 
North Carolina in November, 1833, when he spent six 
months in the State, entire Baptist congregations went 
over to the "Campbellite's Order," as it was then being 
called. Campbell won a considerable part of the congre- 
gation of the Regular Baptists at Edenton, and created a 
disturbance in the Chowan Association that continued 
through the remainder of the ante-bellum period. In the 
summer of 1833 the pulpit of the Baptist church at 
Edenton was vacant. This was caused by the fact that 
Thomas Meredith had declined to continue as minister 
but still kept his membership there. At that point, a Dr. 
Hall, who was a follower of Campbell, was invited to 
preach in that church. Hall created quite an aftermath. 
Meredith severely criticized Hall in his paper, the BAP- 
TIST INTERPRETER. The majority of the people, how- 
ever, seemed to accept Hall's ideas. Meredith made the 
following eight allegations as to the substance of the ideas 
taught by Hall: 


The Life and Influence of 

1. That our fathers in many important particulars have been 
entirely mistaken. 

2. That our ministers in several respects are "darkening 
counsel by words without knowledge." 

3. That all articles of the distinctive principles of the Baptist 
Church are entirely unauthorized by the Scriptures. 

4. That all articles of Faith, Church, Covenants, Church 
Constitutions, Rules of Decorum, System of Discipline, etc., are 
unnecessary, unscriptural, and hurtful. 

5. That a few officious individuals may violate the standing 
and fundamental regulations of a church without asking ques- 
tions and without incurring censure. 

6. That the practice of receiving members into the church on 
the grounds of a religious experience is unauthorized and ought 
to be abolished. 

7. That, in order to the admission of members, no act of the 
church is necessary or proper. 

8. That any person is properly qualified for baptism who will 
say that he believes in Christ, loves God, and is desirous for the 
ordinance. 3 

Into such a situation as this Campbell came, and issued 
the following proclamation in advertising his first Sunday- 
Service in Edenton : 

To the Religious Public in Edenton and its vicinities:- Thomas 
Campbell, Minister of the gospel, respectfully presents Christian 
salutation, begs leave to inform them that on next Sunday after- 
noon, at half past two o'clock, in the Baptist meeting house of 
this place, he intends addressing them on the all important 
subject of the Religious Reformation, which he with a goodly 
number of his contemporaries, has been humbly earnestly recom- 
mending to the reception of the Christian public, for upwards of 
twenty years. The object of the proposed address will be to give 
a clear, precise, and definite statement of the principles, reasons, 
and object of the proposed Reformation, so that all concerned 
may determine with certainty whether they ought to embrace or 
reject. 4 

For six months Thomas Campbell traveled and visited 
in the Eastern part of North Carolina — including such 
communities as Edenton, Tarboro, Greenville, Hookerton, 
and Pantego. On April 9, 1834, while in Pantego, Camp- 
bell stayed in the home of Thomas J. Latham, a school 
teacher of fine training. Latham must have profited 
largely by this visit. Seven years later he was effective 
in leading the Bethel Conference of Free Will Baptists to 

Dr. John Tomline Walsh 


adopt the major ideals of the "Restoration Movement." 
This caused a merger with the Disciples in 1845. 

A study of this rise of the Disciples among the Free 
Will Baptists is of utmost importance, for it was among 
the Free Will Baptists that the Disciples found some of 
the ablest leaders for their cause. 

The Free Will Baptists had much in common with the 
"Christian Connection" of O'Kelly. They had fraternal 
relations — exchanging delegates at Conferences. It has 
been said that this relation of the Free Will Baptists and 
the Christians probably promoted the following attitudes : 

1. A desire for the union of all Christians ; 

2. Emphasis of the name Christian ; 

3. A tendency to undermine attachments 
for a formulated church creed. 

In all of this they were preparing the ground for what 
came to be the Disciples of Christ. 

In the year 1830 there arose a division in the Free Will 
Baptist Conference. Thirteen churches in the eastern 
area formed the Shiloh Conference, while the remaining 
churches in the west were to be called the Bethel Free 
Baptist Conference of North Carolina. It seems that the 
Shiloh Conference very soon lost its identity, and the 
whole area was operated as the Bethel Conference. 5 In 
their Meeting of 1835 at Wheat Swamp, a committee was 
appointed to revise their discipline and print it, together 
with an amended creed, if adopted. The members of this 
committee were Winsor Dixon, Robert Bond, and Reuben 
Barrow. These men were to become strong Disciple 
leaders a few years later. In the next year, 1838, their 
General Conference met at Hookerton. It adopted the 
revised discipline, but there was a growing sentiment for 
the abolition of the Creed and discipline, and the taking of 
the Bible as the only standard for the Church. 

By 1839 this new demand had gained such strength 
that it controlled the Conference. At that Conference a 
reactionary motion was given by Jeremiah Heath that all 
ministers of the Conference be required to confess their 
loyalty to the Free Will Baptist principles. This motion 


The Life and Influence of 

was lost by a vote of eight to twenty, and Heath withdrew 
from the roll. This was the definite turning of the Bethel 
Conference to the Disciples. 6 

In 1341 the Free Will Baptist designation was dropped 
from the name of the Conference, and the only term 
"Bethel Conference" was used. Thomas J. Latham gave 
a very important circular letter for that Annual Meeting, 
held at Piney Grove Church, in Sampson County, Novem- 
ber 11-14. In that letter Latham showed that union must 
be upon the Scriptures, with each person having the right 
to his own interpretation of the Scriptures ; but he must 
not attempt to force his interpretation upon someone else. 

In the Conference of 1843 Latham offered a resolution 
"which emphatically deplored denominational divisions, 
declared for autonomy of the local church in faith and 
practice," and concluded as follows : 

Resolved that such churches as are willing to unite with us on 
the Holy Scriptures as the Rule of Faith and Discipline, reserving 
to themselves the right to interpret the same for their own regu- 
lations, be affectionately invited to represent themselves by dele- 
gates in this Conference. 7 

With the passage of this resolution came the cleavage 
between the two religious groups. 

At the annual Conference the following year (1844) at 
Hookerton it was felt that there should be a union of all 
those who had Disciple convictions. Robert Bond offered 
a resolution which requested delegates from the two re- 
ligious groups to meet at Hookerton, May 2, 1845, for that 
purpose. The outcome of that meeting resulted in the 
union of the two groups to form "The Bethel Conference 
and Union Meeting of the Disciples of Christ." The Bible 
alone was to be their Rule of Faith and Practice, and they 
were to discard all human creeds, traditions, or command- 
ments of uninspired men. 

In the fall of 1845, after the formal union of the two 
groups of Disciples, they had thirty churches, with one 
thousand, eight hundred and fifty-nine members, and 
twenty-six preachers on their roll. "The thirty churches 
were located in the following twelve counties: Beaufort 
(eight churches) ; Carteret (one) ; Craven (one) ; Greene 

Dr. John Tomline Walsh 


(two) ; Hyde (one) ; Johnston (one) ; Jones (two) ; Lenoir 
(three) ; Martin (one) ; Sampson (two) ; Pitt (three) ; 
Pamlico, then a part of Craven, (five) ." 8 Twelve churches 
out of this original group of thirty have retained their 
identity in name to the present time. They are : Beaver 
Dam, in Beaufort ; Chinquapin and Pleasant Hill, in Jones ; 
Hookerton, in Greene; Mill Creek, in Johnston; Kinston 
and Wheat Swamp, in Lenoir ; Bay Creek, Bethany, Broad 
Creek, and Concord, in Pamlico; and Roundtrees, in Pitt. 
All of these twelve, except Beaver Dam, Chinquapin 
Chapel, and Concord (Pamlico) have an unbroken Disciple 
history since 1845. Those three disappeared for a while 
but were re-established. Of the original thirty, Concord 
in Beaufort is identical with the present Pantego: Fel- 
lows Chapel, of Pitt, grew into Salem, Riverside, and 
Timothy; and Welche's Creek, in Martin, evolved into 
Poplar Chapel in Martin, and into Christian Hope, east of 
the creek, in Washington County. Old Ford in Beaufort, 
and Oak Grove in Greene did not come on the roll until 
1846; Oak Grove (Pitt) was entered in 1848; Tuckahoe 
(Jones), in 1849; and Tranters Creek (Beaufort) in 1851. 

The twenty-six original ministers on the roll in 1845 
are as follows : 

Thomas C. Baker Wm. McGounds 

Robert Bond Willie T. Mobley 

John L. Clifton Willie T. Nobles 

Jordon Cox Benjamin Parrott 

John P. Dunn John Powell 

Wm. R. Fulshire Wm. H. Schenk 

Wm. C. Gardner F. B. Silverthorn 

John B. Gay lord Henry Smith 

John M. Gurganus Nathan Stancill 

James F. Latham Jacob Tench 

Thomas J. Latham Seth H. Tyson 

Wm. Latham Benjamin Weeks 

James R. Lewis Nathaniel Weeks 9 

The next year's roll showed four of these twenty-six 
names dropped, namely: Jordon Cox, Wm. C. Gardner, 
Willie T. Mobley, and Benjamin Weeks. Three new 


The Life and Influence of 

names were added, however, namely: E. S. F. Giles, John 
Jarman, and Dr. John A. Leggett. 

Thus it was that the North Carolina Disciples of Christ 
were established. 

This newly established Brotherhood very soon made 
several attempts at uniting with other religious groups. 
They turned to a reorganized Free Will Baptist group 
(who had declined to unite with the Free Will Baptist- 
Disciple coalition) , but there was such a controversy over 
Free-Masonry as a test of Fellowship that the Disciples 
could make no progress, with the strife and division 
among the Free Will Baptists, in the promotion of unity. 

Then the Disciples turned to the liberal Chowan Asso- 
ciation to test their ideal of unity. The Campbells had 
left a very deep influence on this group, and so it seemed 
favorable soil for the Disciples' plea. At the Disciples' 
Annual Meeting in Kinston in 1849 there were appointed 
two delegates to represent the Disciples in a session of the 
Chowan Association. Those representatives were John 
P. Dunn and Josephus Latham. At this Kinston meeting 
appeared Dr. S. J. Wheeler to tell of the new girls' school 
of the Baptists at Murfreesboro and to solicit patronage 
for it. The Disciples rallied to the support, provided two 
Disciple trustees for the institution, and invited Dr. 
Wheeler to cover the Disciple field in solicitation of sup- 
port. Several years later, however, there arose a tension 
which created an unfavorable atmosphere for any formal 
union between the Disciples and Baptists. 10 

The environment of the early Disciples of Christ in 
North Carolina was such that a vigorous evangelism was 
important. Therefore, one of their first undertakings was 
the sustaining of a general evangelist. "A central com- 
mittee composed of John P. Dunn, Thomas J. Latham and 
Charles Joyner were to raise and administer the evan- 
gelizing fund. This committee was appointed at the 
Disciples' Annual State Meeting at Post Oak Meeting 
House, on Swift Creek, Craven County, in 1846." 11 Each 
church was to forward their collected funds to the Ce ntral 
Committee when the evangelist entered the field. At the 

Dr. John Tomline Walsh 


next annual meeting no suitable evangelist was yet avail- 
able, so the matter drifted on for several years. 

In December, 1850, certain leading Disciples from the 
more aggressive churches held a meeting at Hookerton, 
and employed Josephus Latham and Jesse P. Nevill, a 
stranger from without the State, to evangelize under their 
auspices until the next State meeting. At the following 
State meeting in 1851 this action was commended, and 
another meeting was ordered to be held in Kinston in 
November of that year for the furtherance of evangelism. 

John P. Dunn had been doing some noteworthy evan- 
gelism of his own. This was mainly in Pitt County at 
Rountrees and Tyson's Meeting House, which later became 
Antioch (Farmville) ; and at Oak Grove, Greene County, 
which later became Corinth, Pitt County. This last 
named church was previously of the Regular Baptists in 
the Contentnea Association. A letter from Alfred Moye 
to his son, Moses, then in Wake Forest College, on 
October 27, 1849, said: 

Revivals are the order of the day in our section. There has 
been preaching at the Grove commencing Friday the 19th, and 
ending last evening, four days and five nights, and there have 
been ten baptisms in the last month in the Christian denomination, 
namely: Henry Horn and Wife, Mary Hooker, Sally Turnage, 
Carolina Baker, Thomas Jolly and daughter, Timothy Baker, 
Arthur Dennis, Dina Hodges, and your relative, Elizabeth 
Belcher .... I have never seen such a disposition manifested 
by the people to attend preaching. 

Even though Dunn was the leading evangelist of this 
period, yet there were others who were assisting in 
itinerant preaching to scattered groups. Henry Smith 
preached for twelve churches, visiting each one in three 
months. John B. Gay lord, his son-in-law, located in 
Kinston where he became the Disciples' first resident 
minister. He died in 1851. Robert Bond was likewise 
active, but died in 1849. 

As these Disciple leaders passed away, the need became 
greater for a general evangelist. A call was sent out 
through the Christian Intelligencer published at Scotts- 
ville, Virginia, by R. L. Coleman, and the Christian Union 


The Life and Influence of 

and Religious Review, edited by E. E. Orvis at New 
London, Pennsylvania. The following is the call as it ap- 
peared in the Christian Union and Religious Review : 

Bro. Orvis: — The Disciples in North Carolina, composing the 
Co-operation of Churches in Lenoir County and vicinity, would say 
through the Union and Review, to the Preachers of the Reformation 
in other states, that they wish to employ an able Preacher of the 
Ancient Order, to labor for the Lord in this most beautiful gospel 
field .... And should anyone conclude to do so, and desire further 
information, address — John F. Duncan, Jacob Parrott, or Benjamin 
Parrott, Kinston, Lenoir County, North Carolina — or Willis Dixon, 
Fountain Hill, Greene County, North Carolina. 12 

This was the appeal answered by Dr. John Tomline 
Walsh, who arrived at Kinston, March 15, 1852. 


1. The Christian Baptist Revised by D. S. Burnet, Page 291. 

2. Ware, History of the Disciples of Christ in N. C. P. 48. 

3. North Carolina Baptist Interpreter, July 1833. P. 161. 

4. Ware, op. cit. P. 91. 

5. Ibid. P. 92. 

6. Ibid. 

7. Ibid. P. 93. 

8. Ibid. P. 96. 

9. Ibid. P. 97. 

10. Ibid. P. 100. 

11. Ibid. 

12. Christian Union and Religious Review, April 1852, P. 126. 

Chapter II 


John Tomline Walsh was born of Scotch-Irish descent 
on February 15, 1816, in Hanover County, Virginia. His 
father died four days before he was born. His mother 
conducted the family prayers after the death of her 
husband until some of her sons grew up, embraced the 
Christian faith, and took her place at the family prayer 
service. She was a Methodist, and her husband had been 
a class-leader. 

While quite young, Walsh began school. He went eight 
years to a Mr. Stuart who was generally regarded as an 
excellent teacher. Afterwards, he attended an institution 
named Humanity Hall Academy in Buckingham County, 
Virginia, under the management of Prof. E. G. Hanes. In 
this institution he became very fond of anatomy, phys- 
iology, and medicine. The study of phrenology held 
special interest for him. 

In religion he often found himself differing with his 
contemporaries and taking an independent view of the 
matter. "He has been called 'a natural critic', and deems 
nothing too sacred to be investigated. He thought a man 
had better blunder in search of truth than to float along 
on the dead sea of ignorance ; and, perchance, wake up in 
another state, and know nothing as he might have known 
it." 1 

After finishing his studies at Humanity Hall, Walsh 
began teaching and preaching, the latter being his 
favorite. Very soon he entered the Methodist Conference ; 
but on his first circuit he encountered a bitter experience. 
He unknowingly roused the anger of another Methodist 
minister, Rev. John G. Claiborne, a man of considerable 
wealth and influence in the community. Walsh was not 
conscious of having done wrong to any one. He was 
finally cleared of all ill report, but he left the circuit and 
returned to his home. 

Walsh had been earnestly studying the question of 
infant baptism and could find no scripture for it. He 


The Life and Influence of 

wrote several articles on it which were published in the 
Religious Herald of Richmond, Virginia. He finally made 
up his mind to join the Missionary Baptists, and asked 
Rev. Edward T. Rouzie, his friend and Christian brother, 
for a recommendation. 

Walsh went to the nearest Baptist Church where he 
and his family were known — Burrus' Meeting House, 
Caroline County, Virginia, — and presented himself for 
membership. He was accepted, and a week later he was 
baptized by Rev. Wm. I. Chiles. On November 19, 1836, 
he was authorized by that church to preach. All of this 
had taken place before he was twenty years of age. At 
that time he knew nothing of the Disciples of Christ. 

Walsh never ceased to love many of his Methodist 
brethen. Indeed, he praised that Church for the way in 
which it provided for the old, the sick, and the super- 
annuated preachers, their wives, widows, and children. 
Walsh believed that if John Wesley had incorporated im- 
mersion into his system, he would have swept Christen- 
dom, if not the entire civilized world. 2 

His union with the Baptists brought Walsh face to face 
with the controversy going on between them and the 
Disciples. At that time he was teaching school at the 
home of Mr. Robert Noel, in Essex County, Virginia. Mr. 
Noel, although a Baptist, was a constant reader of the 
Christian Baptist, edited and published by Campbell, and 
he called Walsh's attention to the publication. Walsh 
read the Christian Baptist "and began to see some things 
in a new light." 3 He had never agreed with the Baptists 
on predestination and the final perseverance of the saints ; 
however, he said very little on these subjects. Now Walsh 
began to feel as if he had found something on which he 
could rest securely, and he began defending the Disciples' 
side of the controversy. 

On June 6, 1838, Walsh married his first wife, Miss 
Eliza Beasley. He was then in his twenty-second year. 
Two years later, May 1840, Walsh united with the Church 
of Christ at Tappahannock, Essex Co., Virginia, and 
began preaching for it. 

Dr. John Tomline Walsh 


At first he was employed in York and adjacent counties. 
He preached in the town of Hampton, near Fortress 
Monroe, with considerable success. Also in Yorktown, 
Williamsburg, and elsewhere he worked. His evangelical 
labors in subsequent years were extended to the counties 
of King and Queen, King William, Hanover, Louisa, Essex, 
and adjacent places. For his next field Walsh was asked 
to take that part of Virginia known as "The Northern 
Neck." He removed his family with him, and located at 
Westmoreland Court House, and labored in that field for 
over a year. While in that section, he was requested to 
visit Alexandria, Va., which he did, preaching in that city 
several times. 

In 1844 Walsh moved to Richmond, Virginia, and there 
started his first publication, the Southern Review. While 
in Richmond, Walsh heard many of the pioneer leaders of 
that State and the Brotherhood. He heard Campbell 
many times in the old Sycamore Church on Broad Street. 
Here, too, he met Dr. Silas Shepard, David S. Burnet, and 
Isaac Errett. 

Having remained in the city of Richmond until 1848, 
he moved to Philadelphia for the purpose of continuing 
his medical studies in preparation for making that his 

Soon after he went to Philadelphia, Dr. Thomas Cook 
persuaded him to get up a petition asking the legislature 
to grant a charter to establish "The Eclectic Medical 
College of Pennsylvania." The legislature granted the 
charter without a dissenting vote, and Walsh became one 
of the trustees. A building was found, and Walsh was 
asked to prepare the first annual address to the public. 
Very soon afterwards, the Board of Trustees conferred 
upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Medicine. He 
was also appointed to fill the chair of anatomy and phys- 

He resigned his work in Philadelphia in 1850 and re- 
turned to Richmond to practice medicine. He located on 
Broad Street, and made his office in the basement of 
Thomas J. Glenn's residence. There he practiced medi- 
cine for two years. 


The Life and Influence of 

It was at that time, 1852, that Elder John P. Dunn, 
of North Carolina wrote a letter to the Christian Intel- 
ligencer, in Scottsville, Va., asking for an evangelist to 
come to that state. Walsh read the appeal, opened a 
correspondence with Dunn, and on March, 1852, he and 
his younger brother visited in North Carolina, stopping at 
Kinston. They spent several days there with Elder Dunn, 
and on the third Sunday in March of that year he 
preached at Elm Grove, in Pitt County. During the rest 
of the visit in the State, Walsh preached at Rose of 
Sharon, Lenoir County; Chinquapin Chapel and Pleasant 
Hill, Jones Co.; Wheat Swamp, Lenoir County; Hooker- 
ton and Oak Grove, Greene County ; and other places. It 
was agreed that Dr. Walsh should return to Richmond, 
Virginia, bring back his family with him, and evangelize 
in North Carolina. 

By May 1852, he and his family returned to North 
Carolina, and lived for several months in the home of Mr. 
Jacob Parrott, near Kinston. Later, through the gener- 
osity of a Mr. Benjamin Streator, of Pitt County, Walsh 
was able to buy a house and lot in Hookerton from Dr. 
Hooker there. 

Dr. Walsh began evangelizing as soon as he was settled 
in the "Old North State." In the course of his ministry 
he had charge of several churches for a number of years. 
Among them were: Oak Grove, Greene County; Wheat 
Swamp and Kinston, Lenoir County; Bethany, Pamlico 
County ; and other churches for a shorter period of time. 
Walsh traveled extensively through the State, preaching 
especially in the counties of Greene, Pitt, Martin, Wash- 
ington, Tyrrell, Beaufort, Hyde, Carteret, Edgecombe, 
Wilson, Wayne, and Onslow. 

In 1853 Walsh started publishing his first periodical in 
North Carolina. It was published in Wilson and was 
called the Christian Friend. These publications continued 
throughout the years, although the name was frequently 
changed, as was also the place of publication. 

From the very start of his work in North Carolina, Dr. 
Walsh was looked upon with favor by the Disciple leaders 

Dr. John Tomline Walsh 


of the State. After he had been in the State only a few 
weeks, Alfred Moye wrote his son, Moses, at Wake Forest 
the following : 

We have a new preacher with us; Dr. Walsh of Richmond. He 
is an educated man, well versed in the Scriptures; both eloquent 
and persuasive. He has preached for our Brethren at Kinston, 
Elm Grove, Rountrees, Tysons, and at Oak Grove (Greene) on 
Saturday and Sunday last. He appears to take well and it is ex- 
pected that he will remain and preach in our bounds until the 
next Conference. I heard him at Tysons and the Grove and am 
much pleased with him and so are the brethren generally except a 
few anti's who are opposed to almost everything like progression. 

After Walsh had been in the State for three months he 
wrote the following to Alexander Campbell : 

We number here in Eastern North Carolina near 3,000 mem- 
bers, many of whom are highly intelligent and zealous. A goodly 
number of our brethren here are among the most respectable in 
the community, and are men of considerable wealth. It was only 
a year or so since that we learned anything about them, their 
position being entirely isolated from the rest of our churches. 
About eighteen or twenty years ago Father Campbell passed 
through this region and sowed the seeds of Reformation into 
"some good and honest hearts"; and they have brought forth 
fruit to the honor and glory of God. Among these I may mention 
our beloved Brother, John P. Dunn, who has been the main 
pillar in the cause in this section, and who with the aid of Elder 
Thomas J. Latham, and other co-laborers, has accomplished much 
good and established the cause of Reformation on a firm basis. 4 

Dr. Walsh's wife died in June, 1856, and he married 
again to a Miss Lizzie J. Green of Jones County, in April, 

In 1860 he began a girls' Seminary in Kinston. How- 
ever, this school was short lived. There is one period of 
time in the life of Dr. Walsh in which practically nothing 
is known. That was during the years of the War, 1861 to 
1865. For about five years his life seems to be uneventful 
as far as the public is concerned. The War greatly 
hampered the work of the Church in North Carolina as 
elsewhere, and Walsh's work in the State could hardly be 
supported at that time. In 1866 he was in Baltimore 
publishing the Messianic Banner to support his family, 

After one year there he returned to North Carolina and 


The Life and Influence of 

settled in New Bern. There he resumed publishing his 
monthly periodical. 

In 1871 the Church at Worcester, Mass., invited Dr. 
Walsh to attend their annual meeting. Walsh accepted 
the invitation, and while there he gave several addresses. 
On his way home, Walsh stopped in New York City with a 
Mr. Gould, and preached at both services on Sunday in 
that city. He then returned directly to New Bern. 

In 1876 the North Carolina State Convention delegated 
J. L. Burns, Dr. F. W. Dixon, and Dr. John T. Walsh to 
attend the National Meeting of Disciples at Richmond, 
Virginia. 5 This Meeting was called the General Mission- 
ary Convention. At this Convention, Walsh saw the need 
for a missionary society to be established in North Caro- 
lina. Soon after he returned to North Carolina he put his 
hopes into practice. In April 1877 the Constitution for a 
State Missionary Society was adopted in Kinston. 6 By 
January, 1878, his monthly publication was named the 
Watch Tower and Sisters' Mission Banner. Mrs. Sue 
Helen Draughan and Mrs. Winnie R. Tull were co-editors. 

By 1879, because of his age, Walsh desired to turn the 
editorship of the publication to another man. This went 
into the hands of J. L. Winfield, Walsh being only an 
honorary member of the Publishing Company. However, 
Walsh could not remain inactive, and in 1884, even 
though he was nearing seventy years of age, he began the 
publication of the Living Age, which he hoped would aid 
him in supporting his family in his advanced age. 

During his later years Dr. Walsh was strongly opposed 
to Secret Societies, particularly Free Masonry. Many 
heated discussions occurred, and he was once asked not to 
speak in a certain community because of the tension 
caused by his antagonism. It must be remembered that 
Campbell was also opposed to Secret Societies, but Walsh 
carried it to a point of strong controversy. 

In 1884 he had an attack of paralysis which affected his 
whole left side. At the Annual Convention of that year 
he was appointed an evangelist at large, with the privilege 
of going when and where he could, as his health would 

Dr. John Tomline Walsh 


permit. He died in Kinston in 1886, and was buried there 
with the following inscription on the tomb : 

I have fought a good fight; I have finished my course; 

I have kept the faith. 


It must be noticed that the influence of Walsh is in- 
debted to many of his contemporary pioneer leaders of the 
Disciples of Christ in North Carolina. A brief description 
of these associates gives a clearer picture of the environ- 
ment in which Walsh labored and the assistance that was 

The name of Amos Battle is closely linked with many 
pioneer educational movements in North Carolina. 7 He 
was a missionery Baptist at first, being baptized by Jesse 
Mercer, the founder of Mercer University. For several 
years Battle was the Recording Secretary of the Baptist 
State Convention. He became a trustee of Wake Forest 
College, and erected two buildings there from his personal 
funds. In 1847 he helped to raise money to start Chowan 
College at Murfreesboro. In 1852 he became a minister 
of the Disciples of Christ. The first sermons in the Wilson 
church were preached by him in 1853. He was the leader 
there when that city was but a small village. 

Two women were particularly associated with Dr. Walsh 
during the development of the missionary society. Mrs, 
Sue Helen Draughan was for many years a co-editor with 
Walsh in the writing of his periodicals. She started in 
this work in 1876, working on the Watch Tower and 
Christian Women's Worker. She was later joined in that 
work by Mrs. Winnie R. Tull educated at Winston-Salem 
Academy, and taught in the public schools of Edgecombe 
County for many years. 8 She was a charter member of 
the Christian Women's Board of Missions in North 

John Patrick Dunn was one of the most influential 
leaders of the Disciples in the union with the Bethel 
Conference of North Carolina in 1845. His ministry had 
begun when there were but four Disciple ministers in the 


The Life and Influence of 

Joseph Henry Foy was primarily a teacher. In 1864 he 
taught in the Wilson Collegiate Institute, and from 1865 
to 1870 he conducted a school at Stantonsburg. He 
founded the Kinston Collegiate Institute in 1876. It was 
while he was teaching in 1875 and 1876 that the future 
Governor, Charles Brantley Aycock, was his pupil. In 
1878 he located in St. Louis, Missouri. While there he 
served the Central Christian Church and later the Fourth 
Christian Church. He was later accused of being "liberal" 
and leaning toward Unitarianism. In 1881, the University 
of North Carolina conferred the degree of D.D. on Foy 
and on one other, Calvin H. Wiley, the first superin- 
tendent of the public school system of the state. 

Dr. John James Harper was the State Evangelist for 
the Disciples during a part of the Civil War. He edited 
the Christian Visitor in 1878-79. He was a representa- 
tive of Johnston County in the State Senate in 1881. Dr. 
Harper presided at eleven State Conventions, and was an 
influential personality in building the co-operative life of 
the Disciples in North Carolina. 8 He is probably most 
well known as the first chairman of the Board of Trustees 
of Atlantic Christian College, becoming the president of 
the College in 1904. 

Thomas Jordan Latham was for a number of years 
considered the best educated minister among the Disciples 
in North Carolina. He entertained Thomas Campbell in 
his home at Pantego in 1834, and seven years later he 
promoted much discussion by his circular letter which 
finally led to the union of the Free Will Baptists and the 
Disciples. A son, Josephus Latham, later became a 
prominent minister of the Disciples in North Carolina. 

Moses Tyson Moye attended Wake Forest College and 
Bethany College, graduating there July 4, 1858. Moye 
seemed to be fond of writing for the press, and at one 
time was editor of the Watch Tower. He was a druggist 
by profession. For two years he served as Recording 
Secretary of the official Board of the State Convention. 
Dr. Walsh said of him in 1885: "He is an excellent 
preacher, a good scholar, and a logical reasoner, but .... 
is rather retiring, and does not seek places of eminence or 

Dr. John Tomline Walsh 


distinction, but is content to be 'a door-keeper in the house 
of God/ It has been a matter of regret that Bro. Moye 
has not been more active in the gospel ministry than he 
has, but that is apt to be the case with men of superior 
worth." 10 

The life of Dr. Walsh has been followed; also a brief 
sketch of the leaders with whom he was most closely 
associated has been given. The next chapter follows Dr. 
Walsh as he leads, organizes, teaches, and raises to a new 
level of Christian service, the Disciples of Christ in North 
Carolina during the years of 1852 to 1886. 


1. Walsh, The Life and Times of John T. Walsh, M.D. P. 22. 

2. Ibid. P. 35. 

3. Ibid. P. 38. 

4. The Milleniel Harbinger, 1852. Pp. 537, 538. 

6. Ware, History of the Disciples of Christ in N. C. P. 129. 

6. Ibid. 

7. Ibid. P. 283. 

8. Ibid. P. 301. 

9. Ibid. P. 326. 

10. Walsh, The Life and Times of John T. Walsh, M.D. 

Chapter ill 


Now it is time to examine that part of Dr. Walsh's life 
which was directly connected with the Disciples of Christ 
in North Carolina. That is, from the year 1852 until 
1886. Those were the years in which he was the out- 
standing leader among the Disciples in North Carolina. 

The main source material which gives first hand infor- 
mation as to how Walsh thought and acted are the many 
periodicals which he edited. This work was a great con- 
tribution in itself. His was the first periodical of the 
Disciples of Christ in North Carolina. His first volume 
began in June, 1853, after he had been introduced to the 
State barely a year. On the first page of that publication 
he gave the reason for publication, and something of the 
nature of the periodical, as follows : 

This enterprise has been undertaken at the earnest and re- 
peated solicitation of others who have long felt the importance 
of such a publication in this influence in its support. That the 
brethren need such a periodical here, there can be no doubt. We 
have been assailed privately and publically; our views have been 
designedly, maliciously, and grossly misrepresented; and we have 
no means of correction public sentiment with reference to our 
views, except by the public proclamation, which because of the 
few evangelists in the field, has been inadequate. A well con- 
ducted journal, circulating throughout our State, it is confidently 
believed, would be equal to five or six Evangelists. We are aware 
it has been urged that "we have papers enough". That may be 
true; but we find it almost, if not quite, impossible to secure a 
general circulation in this community of any paper published out 
of the State. And, after all that has been said on the subject, it 
would be well for every State, that can sustain it, to have a 
journal of its own. At present, some of the States have two 
papers, while others have none. We are fully satisfied of one 
thing, namely: that if there be a State in the Union which should 
have a religious periodical, devoted to primitive Christianity, North 
Carolina is that State. 

The circulation of our paper among the brethren will have a 
tendency to cement them together. The different churches will 
hear from each other through this medium. They can discuss, in 


The Life and Influence of 

a friendly and Christian-like manner, the best means of doing 
good — of sustaining our common cause. Disciplinary questions 
will here be discussed, and the whole brotherhood thereby edified 
and instructed. We hope to have the aid of many of our brethren 
as contributors. In this way, you can make the paper just what 
you desire it; because it will reflect your own sentiments. 
Nothing of a speculative character will be admitted into our paper; 
but we shall seek to make our periodical a practical exponent of 
the great truths of our holy religion. 1 

Dr. Walsh went to his work with much enthusiasm, 
feeling that North Carolina was a very fertile field, yet 
one in which much cultivation was necessary. This was 
caused, in part, by the background from which the 
Disciples had come. 

Walsh was particularly critical of the ministry and its 
support. He recognized their hardships, and took their 
needs to heart. He saw that most ministers were not 
being supported as he believed they should be, and so he 
included in his first publication a reprint from the 
Christian Intelligencer of Scottsville, Virginia. It was 
concerning the Christian ministry and its support, and 

1. God has always made provision for the support of His 

2. God has ordained that they that preach the gospel shall live 
of the gospel. God has ordained it in Matthew 10:10, "For 
the workman is worthy of his meat". 

3. The duties of the Elder or Bishop require that he should 
be supported by the congregation. 2 

Dr. Walsh did not hesitate to speak straight to the 
constituency of the church about the matter of giving. 
On August, 1858, he called attention to a letter that had 
been written to him, and then he made the following 
comment : 

If Christians are to give as the Lord prospers them, they must 
give by some rule; and if one tenth is not that rule, pray what is 
it? ... . The truth is, many do not hence they oppose the 
tenth rule. s 

Dr. Hooker of the Hookerton Church wrote that there 
was "a crisis with the Reformation." He stated that this 
was because the ministry was not duly sustained. In 

Dr. John Tomline Walsh 


vivid language he stated, "Honest and pure hearted 
preachers in all ages have resembled the Camels of Arabia, 
which, while they carry spices and jewels to others, feed 
on shrubs and thistles." 4 

As the Civil War approached, living expenses increased. 
Dr. Walsh said that provisions had been so high during 
a current year that the income from preaching would 
hardly meet the expenses. Walsh was once asked if it 
was right for those preachers who could live independently 
on their own means, to preach without remuneration even 
though the churches were able to pay. He answered an 
emphatic "No," and showed that it would be a real injury 
to all parties concerned, and that the preacher should 
receive the remuneration and give it to benevolent pro- 

In March, 1859, Walsh became very indignant at a bill 
which was then before the legislature to tax ministers and 
the press. His answer to that bill was an article entitled, 
"Is it True?" 

.... To tax ministers is to tax religion! Verily North Caro- 
lina has come to a pretty pass when her legislators seriously 
entertain such a proposition. And we should like to know who 
introduced such a bill, and who voted for it. Whoever they were, 
they were no more fit to legislate for a free and enlightened 
people than so many idiots .... They cannot tax vice; this is 
too precious an article! They cannot tax the distiller, the house 
of assignation, the ball-room, and other places of vice and im- 
morality; but they must tax editors and ministers! 5 

Even though Walsh was quick to take up for the 
ministry, and give it the best chance possible, nevertheless 
he saw the great responsibility that rested on their 
shoulders, and the seriousness with which they should 
consider their work. Therefore, he included in one of his 
periodicals some "Rules for Preachers": 

1. Study your subject well. Be sure you understand it. 

2. Select a plain, practical subject. 

3. Never attempt to preach unless you have something to say. 

4. Always stop when you are done. 

5. If you do not intend to stick to your text, do not take any. 
Better have no text than not to explain it. 

6. If you are a young preacher, select a doctrinal theme but 


The Life and Influence of 

7. Never attempt to imitate the manners or language of other 
preachers. You will be more likely to imitate their defects 
than their excellencies. 

8. Do not indulge in any accentricities — they are disgusting. 

9. Beware of vanity; many fall by it. 

10. Beware of envy and jealousy — they are ruinous to all who 
indulge in them. 

11. Do not preach yourself out of breath, nor indulge in the 
use of "erruh" at the end of your words and sentences. 

12. Speak as little as possible of yourself in the pulpit: "We 
preach not ourselves but Christ Jesus the Lord." 

As Walsh recognized the low educational level of the 
mass of the Disciple ministers in North Carolina he did 
all that he could in the way of teaching through his 
journals. 7 Not all of Walsh's advice was in a gentle tone 
of voice. Sometimes he was confronted by something 
which was disgusting to him. Then he wasted no words 
in denouncing the act or characteristic. A very noticeable 
example appeared in his Christian Baptist for January, 
1859 under the title of "Big-Headism." 8 

It is regretted that there is no direct statement by 
Walsh which would give his opinion of the issues of the 
Civil War. Perhaps a key to that silence is found in a 
statement he made concerning politics. That statement 
was made in 1886, twenty years after the War, but per- 
haps the same philosophy was dominant in his life during 
the period of the war. He stated in 1886 : 

I am no politician, and do not think I ever shall be Of 

course, it is my right to vote, and when I have done this quietly 
and conscientiously, I can go home, and turn my attention to 
matters of more importance. And this is my advice to all Chris- 
tians, religious editors, and especially to Christian preachers. "9 

Modern religious education does not accept this philoso- 
phy of Walsh in its entirety. Modern religious education 
recognized the importance of being concerned with every- 
thing that affects life, for it is through the experiences 
which the individual encounters with society that de- 
termines his personality to so great an extent. Further- 
more, the actual participation in the controlling of the 
policies of society has value which cannot be disregarded 
by modern religious education. 

Dr. John Tomline Walsh 


A very noteworthy accomplishment of Dr. Walsh, in his 
effort for the improvement of the ministry, was his 
agitation for, and leadership in, the adoption of an ordi- 
nation policy for the ministers of the Disciples of Christ 
in North Carolina. This came not without a struggle 
against much opposition. 

The conviction grew that there should be an exami- 
nation of the candidates for the ministry. In the Kinston 
Convention in 1872, an experimental policy was sub- 
mitted by the Committee on the Order of Business. The 
policy was for "A committee of five or more experienced 
ministers to examine candidates for enrollment on the 
list of preachers, and applicants from other religious 
parties desiring to unite with us, but nothing in this re- 
port is to be construed as depriving the churches of the 
right to authorize any pious and qualified brother among 
them to preach the Gospel/' This Examining Committee 
was composed of J. J. Harper, John T. Walsh, M. T. Moye, 
Josephus Latham, Joseph H. Foy, and Gideon Allen. In 
their report after giving their recommendations as to 
particular applicants they concluded : 

Hereafter, from the ministers, it will be seen and generally 
understood, that all candidates for enrollment on our list shall 
undergo a rigid examination on the elements of the Gospel by the 
Committee appointed for that purpose. . . . We therefore con- 
strue our just powers to be limited solely to the examination of 
candidates upon the truths of Holy 

This created an unfavorable reaction among many. 
There were three who voted against its adoption at the 
Kinston convention of 1872. They were Augustus 
Latham, Jr., J. R. Robinson, and Winfield Muse. Latham 
stirred up a revolt to the plan in the First District, em- 
bracing the area now known as Roanoke District. He had 
a controversy about it with Walsh in the Watch Tower. 
Latham said that he was not opposed to education, but 
that he did not think it his duty "to learn to take an ipse 
dixit from an uninspired person." 

The First District, at their next Union Meeting, drafted 
an expression of their sentiment regarding the new plan 
of examination. The next Annual Meeting at Hookerton 


The Life and Influence of 

in 1873 considered this sentiment and presented the 
following resolution: 

Resolved, as the sentiment of this Convention, that while we 
acknowledge the prerogative of the local congregations to seek 
out and train men for the work of the ministry, that nevertheless, 
according to the teachings of the New Testament, no Christian 
congregation has any right to set apart or ordain anyone to the 
work of the Gospel Ministry, unless he has been first "proved" or 
examined by an Evangelist, or a competent Presbytery, touching his 
knoioledge of the Gospel, and Ms moral character, or Christian 
faithfulness: and that when the name of any new preacher is sent 
up to be enrolled on the list of preachers, the congregation of which 
he is a member shall certify to this fact in a letter addressed to the 
Convention, and signed by all of the officers of the church, Elders, 
Deacons, and the Evangelist who examined and ordained him.n 

This resolution brought opposition from the Gospel 
Advocate in Nashville, Tennessee. David Lipscomb, the 
editor, said : ". . . . No man can preach Christ in North 
Carolina, no Church can send a man out to preach Christ 
unless first some one of the ordained clergy examine, 
ordain, and recommend, and this Sanhedrin of the Clergy 
approve/' 12 

Walsh stated that this was a misrepresentation, since 
the service of a delegate Convention was the representa- 
tive action of the Churches themselves. As to Lipscomb's 
accusation of the restriction of ordination to the "Sanhe- 
drin of the Clergy," Walsh said: 

So far from this being correct, we hold that every Disciple has 
a right to preach, to warn, and exhort his fellowmen, if he con- 
ceives it his duty to do it; but whether the Churches, or the 
Convention representing them, 1 will endorse and bid every such 
man "God speed," without regard to his qualifications, mental, 
and moral, is quite another matter ... .13 

This agitation of Walsh and his colleagues eventually 
won universal support of the Disciples in the State. 
Augustus Latham, Jr., who had stiffly opposed the idea, 
himself offered a resolution in the Convention of 1893, 
and had it adopted. It was to the effect that no one 
should be recognized as a minister by the Convention 
unless he has "produced good and properly authenticated 
evidences that he is in good standing, and of good report." 

Dr. John Tomline Walsh 


In the Convention of 1876 C. W. Howard offered a reso- 
lution which provided for a committee on Ministerial 
Character. The first to serve in such a capacity were 
James W. Draughan, Isaac Brown, Simon E. Hodges, 
Josiah Dixon, and Levi Jackson, Jr. This service has been 
extended through the years, and since 1919 it has been 
through a Standing Committee. This is available any 
day of the year as required, and upon the call of the Chair- 
man of the Board of Managers of the Convention. 

This fostering of a trained ministry by Walsh and his 
associates was to have a great influence through the 
years. It meant, first, that an educated ministry would 
be a dominant factor in the State program. Furthermore, 
this trained ministry has seen the necessity for education 
in all phases of the Church's life, and has thus laid a 
ground work for the advanced program of the various 
churches today. 

When the Disciples began in North Carolina in 1841, 
there was not a Sunday School among them so far as the 
records disclose. The first Sunday School was organized 
at Kinston, April 8, 1849. 

At the Annual Meeting in 1855, there was a report by a 
newly organized Sunday School Committee, with Josephus 
Latham as Chairman. This report pointed out that 
Disciples had neglected the training of children, and has 
left them to be taught "by those who actively despise the 
doctrine we so much cherish. We therefore solicit our 
brethren to establish Sunday Schools, in which the true 
principles of the Bible may be taught." 

After each Annual Meeting Dr. Walsh published the 
minutes of the Meeting, including the report of the Sun- 
day School Committee. 

In 1859, the Committee made a stronger appeal by 
showing that a definite community service was rendered 
by Sunday Schools. It stated that "many poor children 
have been taught to read by means of Sunday Schools, 
who otherwise would perhaps have never learned the 

Furthermore, it added, "Children in attending such 
Schools are kept away from bad associations ; and by this 


The Life and Influence of 

means many, no doubt, have been saved from wickedness 
into which they might otherwise have fallen." 

It must be noticed that Dr. Walsh himself was not 
directly responsible for these actions favoring the estab- 
lishment of Sunday Schools. However, he did not turn a 
deaf ear to the matter, for in that same year, 1859, he 
wrote an article in his monthly publication in which he 
gave his opinion on some new literature that was avail- 
able for Sunday Schools. He stated : 

A notice of publication by Messrs. James Challen and Son, 
Philadelphia, — a new Question and Answer book on Matthew. 
This is the first of a series of books greatly needed in our Sunday 
School and families, as there is much that is decidedly objec- 
tionable in the Union Question Book now in general use. The 
publishers design issuing Question Books on the entire New 
Testament as rapidly as the means afforded them will permit.** 

At that early date, with such a small supply of literature 
available, Dr. Walsh openly advocated the use of that 
literature which in his judgment was most suitable for the 
existing Sunday Schools. 

The Civil War was a great handicap to the reporting of 
the growth of Sunday Schools. There was one last state- 
ment made by Walsh before that period of silence. That 
statement was not about the formal education of children 
in the Sunday School, but it was concerning the develop- 
ment of the characteristic of politeness in children. 15 

At the 1871 Annual Meeting it was reported that 
"addresses were delivered by Bros. J. W. Harper, J. T. 
Walsh, Jno. R. Winfield, and J. Latham, strongly recom- 
mending Lord's Day Schools to our brethren as important 
auxiliaries to the gospel, provided the right kind of books 
be used. We rejoice to hear that so many schools are 
carried on among us; glad to see much interest in this 

In 1872, definite reports were available for the first 
time. The first eight Bible Schools known among the 
Disciples in North Carolina were : Christian Prospect, in 
Onslow County; Saints' Delight and Scuppernong, in 
Washington ; Bethel and Kinston, in Lenoir ; Pleasant Hill, 
in Jones ; Mill Creek, in Johnston ; and Pantego, in Beau- 

Dr. John Tomline Walsh 


fort. Mill Creek seems to have had the largest numbers 
with an enrollment of fifty ; Kinston appears to have had 
the largest group of teachers and the largest library. The 
report closed with a plea for better cooperation among the 
churches in reporting the conditions of their respective 
Schools, the names of superintendents, the number and 
names of teachers, the number of volumes in the library, 
the amount expended for books or other accessories of 
teaching, and the methods of instruction pursued. 

At the report at the next year's Meeting there were 
listed several new schools. The following schools and 
statistics were given : 

Antioch, Pitt Co., 62 pupils and six teachers. 

Concord, Beaufort Co., 3 5 pupils and five teachers. A library 

valued at $30. 
Pleasant Grove, Sampson Co., No statistics given. 
Salem, No statistics given. 

Christian Prospect, Onslow Co., 20 pupils, four teachers. 
Kinston, 40 pupils, six teachers. 

Wilson, 12 pupils and three teachers; library valued at $30; 

amount paid for books, $22. 
Asheville, 75 pupils and five teachers. 16 

By 1879 there were twenty-one schools listed, with an 
enrollment of 751 pupils and 116 teachers. Even though 
Dr. Walsh was not a direct leader in this growth, he pub- 
lished every item of benefit to the Sunday Schools. He 
and his periodicals were spokesmen for this movement. 

Dr. Walsh, true to the tradition of the Disciple pioneers, 
was deeply interested in the field of education. The early 
Disciples in North Carolina realized the need of an edu- 
cational institution of their own, and in 1854 Dr. Walsh 
wrote the following appeal for the erection of an Institute 
at Hookerton: 

The above subject, "Hookerton Female Institute," is now under 
discussion by many of our brethren, and we deem it proper to 
bring it before the public at once. Why should we be behind all 
other denominations in the State, with reference to schools and 
colleges? Can any good reason be given? Why would we help 
build up institutions of learning for other denominations and send 
our children to them to be sectarianized? We have followed this 
suicidal policy long enough, and it becomes us to pause, reflect, and 
to change our policy. We can have a female school of high order, 


The Life and Influence of 

and we must have one. We must begin this work at once. There 
must be no delay. Many brethren are now ready to act in this 
matter. We think we could name about twenty who would be 
willing to subscribe at least $2,000. We want no small affair. Let 
us have a school worthy of public patronage — one free from all 
sectarianism. And Hookerton is the place for such a school. It is 
central and healthy. We would suggest that all the friends of such 
a school, who can make it convenient to do so, attend the Union 
Meeting to commence on Friday before the fifth Lord's Day.i? 

Shortly afterwards, when a general plan had been 
drawn up, Walsh sent out subscription blanks through his 
periodical, and also made the following appeal to the 
Missionary Baptists : 

It is now our time to appeal to our Missionary Baptist brethren 
on this subject. Our people have contributed very liberally, in 
past years, to Wake Forest College and to the Murfreesboro Insti- 
tute. Dr. Wheeler knows this, and so do the Baptists generally. 
It is now our time to call upon you, and we shall be certain to do 
it. Shall we meet with the kindness that our brethren extended 
to you? We shall see whether you will do unto others, in this 
respect, as they have done unto you. For the purpose of affording 
further facilities to persons who may wish to subscribe, we 
respectfully and earnestly request the following persons to act as 
Agents in taking subscriptions. And remember, you can sub- 
scribe from $1.00 upwards. is 

There followed the names of twelve men who would act 
as agents. His concluding remark was, "Brethren, re- 
member that in a good cause, God expects every man to 
do his duty." 

Dr. Walsh's agitation went so far as to cause a Board 
of Trustees to be organized October 3, 1854. The officers 
of this Board were: John P. Dunn, President; Winsor 
Dixon, Vice President, George Joyner, Sec'y ; and William 
Dixon, Assistant Sec'y. 

Thus the Disciples in North Carolina had made their 
first attempt to acquire a school of their own. The con- 
vention had previously endorsed Kinston as the site for 
the institution, but the funds were slow to be realized, and 
the effort continued through several years without 

In 1857 there was agitation for a school of the Disciples 
to be established in Farmville or its vicinity. There was 

Dr. John Tomline Walsh 


much difference of opinion as to where it should be located, 
and even though about $3,000 had been raised by sub- 
scription, the school was not established. Dr. Walsh, who 
was then in Kinston, commended their efforts but recog- 
nized their opposition. He went on to say that "we had 
about $9,000 subscribed for a school here, and its failure 
is a monument to our folly as lasting as the hills, or the 
pyramids of Egypt." However, his Kinston school was 
later revived, and in 1860 Dr. Walsh was made the prin- 
cipal, with Miss Alice Mallard as his assistant. The 
school was called the Kinston Female Seminary. This 
school conducted by Dr. Walsh, and also a school in Wilson 
conducted by Mrs. Hughart, were the first schools of 
general importance to be conducted by individual Disciples 
in North Carolina. Very shortly, however, the War 
started, and Dr. Walsh moved out of the State. 

Several attempts were made later to organize school, 
but none materialized to any degree of satisfaction except 
the Kinsey Seminary, founded by Joseph Kinsey in 1897, 
out of which grew Atlantic Christian College in 1902. 

Not only did Dr. Walsh take part in the practical and 
organizational side of education, but he also had much to 
say about the philosophy and underlying principles of 
education. The following article was written by him in 
his periodical in 1884: 

Education is a very comprehensive word. It is derived from the 
Latin educare from e, out, and ducere, to lead. I am defining the 
word educate, to bring up, as a child; to cultivate and discipline 
the various powers of the body, soul, spirit or mind. . . . Education 
is mental, moral, and physical growth. . . . Education, therefore, 
embraces everything. It is not only world-wide, heaven-wide, but, 
alas, often hell-wide. . . . Every church and pulpit in the world, 
sound or unsound, orthodox or heterodox, exerts an educational 
influence for good or evil 

Education should include the whole man, and then legitimately 
divide itself into the following themes: 

1. The education of the mind. 

2. The education of man's moral nature. 

3. The education of man's physical nature. 

All these may be conducted at the same time, and, indeed, they 
should go hand in hand from the start, and continue through life. 

38 The Life and Influence of 

Educated men and women, in the full sense of the word, are few, 
if, indeed, there are any.19 

This educational theory of Dr. Walsh contained many- 
forward looking elements in it. It emphasized the fact 
that real education concerns the whole person, and that it 
is a life-long process. Furthermore, he emphasized the 
fact that everything which acts upon a human being is a 
part of his education. The result of the individual's re- 
sponse to these stimuli would determine whether that 
stimulus — or educational factor — made for good or evil. 

Not only did Dr. Walsh make use of his own thoughts 
along the lines of the philosophy of education, but he was 
also quick to publish the ideas of the other leaders in the 
field of education of that day. He published an address 
made by Dr. Richard H. Lewis, President of Kinston 
College, and President of the North Carolina Teacher's 
Assembly. This address was entitled "The Moral In- 
fluence of the Teacher," 20 in which the broad influence of 
the teacher — both in and out of the school room — was 
shown to be a great influential factor in the moral develop- 
ment of the child. 

Probably the work of Dr. Walsh that is most noticeable 
today was his leadership in organizing the missionary 
society among the Disciples in North Carolina. The 
missionary spirit was strong in Walsh. As early as 1853 
there were evidences of that interest. In his Christian 
Friend in December of that year he wrote, "There is no 
standing still in religion. We either go forward or back- 
ward. A church without a missionary spirit is like a 
body without a soul — dead." 

In 1871 there was the beginning of a missionary move- 
ment among the women of the North Carolina Disciples 
of Christ. This beginning was made in the home of Dr. 
F. W. Dixon near Hookerton. His wife and a few other 
women saw the need of working cooperatively to relieve 
the poor in the community and to do other good work. 
This group enlarged, and met monthly as a sewing enter- 
prise. The organization was named "The Sisters' Bene- 
ficent Society." In 1873 Mrs. Sue Helen Draughan first 
took active interest in the work, and organized a similar 

Dr. John Tomline Walsh 


group at Bethany. These societies continued their work 
for several years, and it was felt by all that it should be 
extended to the Disciple women throughout the State. 
J. L. Burns and Mr. Draughan urged through the press 
that some plan should be presented at the Wheat Swamp 
Convention in October, 1876. Accordingly, at that time 
and place, it was arranged to change the "Beneficent 
Society" into "The Sisters' Mission Workers of Disciples 
of Christ." 

The Watch Tower, edited by Dr. Walsh, was a great 
promotional benefit for the women. In May, 1876, he 
added the sub-title of Christian Woman' s Worker to the 
Watch Tower. Mrs. Draughan was the editor of the 
regular women's department. She was soon aided by 
Mrs. Winnie R. Tull in that work. 

In that same year Dr. Walsh attended the General 
Missionary Convention at Richmond, Virginia. This was 
a national meeting, and this contact with outstanding 
leaders of the Disciples of Christ had its effect upon Dr. 
Walsh. The Virginia State Missionary program had 
started that year, and Walsh liked the plan so well that 
he determined to present a similar plan for adoption in 
North Carolina. Accordingly, he drew up a constitution, 
and presented it to the Disciples in North Carolina. On 
April 27, in Kinston, this constitution was adopted. Dr. 
F. W. Dixon was made President; Dr. Walsh was made 
the Corresponding Secretary. 

The Society was to be composed of life directors, each 
paying twenty dollars per year ; life members, each paying 
ten dollars per year for five years ; and annual members, 
each paying five dollars per year. There were forty-eight 
names enrolled for this Society. These included two life 
directors, seventeen life members, and twenty-nine annual 

This formation of a missionary society was not all 
smooth sailing for Dr. Walsh and his co-laborers. There 
was opposition from many on the basis that it was not 
Scriptural, and that it took away from the churches the 
work of spreading the Gospel. To these criticisms, Dr. 
Walsh wrote the following statements. 


The Life and Influence of 

It is not proposed to take away from the churches the work of 
spreading the Gospel, but rather to bring out individual and con- 
gregational cooperation of a money basis .... Surely no one 
will take the position that the Scriptures debar individual Chris- 
tians from uniting their efforts to sustain the Gospel. Some may 
object to the effort as a Society; but what is a Society? It is 
simply a union of persons in one interest, companionship, asso- 
ciation. The Church of God is a Society in this sense. 21 

The Society held its first annual meeting at the Salem 
Convention in October, 1877. Dr. Walsh reported that he 
had collected $222.20. He recommended the employment 
of an evangelist and a field secretary for enlistment of all 
the churches. J. L. Burns was appointed State Evan- 
gelist at a salary of thirty-three and a third dollars per 
month with allowance for traveling expenses. He was 
also to do the field promotion work for the Society. 

In 1878, the Executive Committee elected new officers. 
Among these, Walsh was made President, and J. J. Harper 
was the Corresponding Secretary. 

There was persistent criticism about the Society and 
its methods of operation. Dr. Walsh made the following 
reply to one such criticism : 

We have a Christian Missionary Society somewhat like the 
Virginia Society organized over twelve months ago; and we have 
had two evangelists in the field part of the time, but our "sad wail" 
is that we cannot induce our people to take hold of it and cooperate. 
Wherever a certain paper — the American Christian Review — pub- 
lished in Cincinnati exerts an influence among us, the very idea of 
organized cooperative effort seems to create alarm for the safety 
of the Church. But we pray and hope for better times. 22 

It must be noticed that the Missionary Society had not 
yet been identified with the State Convention. They were 
two distinct groups, yet the Society was fast becoming 
identical with the Convention in organization and mem- 

The name of the state organization of the Disciples of 
Christ changed its name many times during its history in 
North Carolina. In 1845 it was called the Bethel Con- 
ference and Union Meeting of the Disciples of Christ in 
North Carolina. In following years it was changed to an 
Annual Meeting, Annual Conference, and, in 1873, it was 

Dr. John Tomline Walsh 


known as the Annual Convention of the Disciples of 
Christ in North Carolina. 

At the Annual Convention of 1878, Dr. Henry Harper 
introduced resolutions to convert the Convention into a 
Missionary Meeting. However, there were several steps 
yet to come before this dream would be realized. 

In 1881, there was seen the need for better leadership 
in the Churches by having a system of resident ministers, 
or its equivalent in group evangelism. A resolution was 
adopted that all the churches should be arranged into 
Evangelical Districts. This "District" plan was put into 
effect, and many churches had better pastoral supervision. 

The Missionary Society was quick to take advantage of 
this District plan, and to use it to a good advantage. In 
1882 it was decided that the Evangelists in each field 
should "preach a discourse on home and foreign missions 
during the evangelical year, and collections be taken up 
for missionary purposes/' 

In the Convention of the next year, 1883, a committee 
was appointed by J. J. Harper, the Moderator, to draft a 
new constitution. Dr. Walsh headed the committee. The 
new constitution was given the name of the North Caro- 
lina Christian Missionary Convention ; and that name has 
lasted to the present day. Dr. Walsh was elected the first 
president under this constitution. 

There were several interesting features about this 
newly formed organization. Its membership consisted of 
delegates from the churches and also those contributing 
to the treasury, on the basis of two dollars per year for 
annual membership or twenty dollars for life membership. 
(In 1888 this financial basis was abolished). Also, the 
local "grouping" plan was to continue in force where 
there was no objection, and the Convention was to assign 
a pastor to each group annually. This practice of "assign- 
ing" a pastor to a group of churches brought about much 
dissatisfaction. The churches desired to choose their own 
ministers instead of accepting one "assigned" to them. 
Perhaps also there was not always the wisest decisions 
made in the "assignments." Dr. Walsh pointed out an- 
other weakness to this "District" plan. He showed, 


The Life and Influence of 

among other things, that the Evangelical Committees 
were often "pressed by preachers and their friends for 
certain places of districts, deemed by them most desirable, 
and considerable partiality is shown, and no little log- 
rolling is mixed up with the whole matter. The best 
things we can do is to fall back upon the old plan, and let 
the churches select their own evangelists." 23 In the Con- 
vention that met later that same year the "District" plan 
was abolished, and it was stated that "each congregation 
belonging to this Convention may adopt such method of 
supplying itself with preaching as it may deem most 

In the early years of this North Carolina Christian 
Missionary Convention, special attention was given to 
extensive evangelising. In 1884, Dr. Walsh was made an 
evangelist at large. Before his death in 1886 he covered 
the counties of Hyde, Tyrrell, and Pamlico on this mission. 

These organizational advancements which were initi- 
ated or fostered by Walsh were probably the contributions 
which are most concretely noticed today. However, the 
Disciples of Christ in North Carolina are also benefitted — 
though perhaps in a more intangible way — by his labors 
in the fields for the promotion of education, Sunday 
schools, and the general improvement of the ministry. In 
all these ways, the betterment of the Disciples of Christ 
in North Carolina was stimulated more by Dr. John 
Tomline Walsh than by any other man during that period. 


1. Christian Friend, June 1853. P. 1. 

2. Ibid. P. 4. 

3. Disciples Advocate, August 1858. P. 342. 

4. Christian Friend and Bible Unionist, April 1855. P. 331. 

5. Christian Baptist, March 1859. P. 89. 

6. Christian Friend, September 1853. P. 64. 

7. The Living Age, November 1884. P. 29. 

8. Christian Baptist, January 1859. P. 8. 

9. The Living Age, November, 1884. P. 31. 

10. Minutes of 1872. 

11. Minutes of 1873. 

12. Watch Tower, January 1874. P. 127. 

13. Ibid. P. 128. 

Dr. John Tomline Walsh 

14. Christian Baptist, June 1859. P. 185. 

15. The Carolina Christian Monthly, April 1860. P. 

16. Watch Tower, October 1873. P. 8. 

17. Christian Friend, January 1854. P. 121. 

18. Ibid. March 1854. P. 152. 

19. The Living Age, November 1884. P. 17. 

20. Ibid. August-September, 1885. P. 170. 

21. Watch Tower, June 1877. P. 321. 

22. Ibid. October 1878. P. 233. 

23. The Living Age, February 1885. P. 76. 


Archives of the North Carolina Disciples of Christ, C. C. 
Ware, Curator. 

Minutes of the State Conventions of the North Carolina 
Disciples of Christ, 1841. 

Ware, Charles Crossfield, A History of the Disciples of 
Christ in North Carolina, St. Louis, Christian Board 
of Publication, 1927. 

Barton Warren Stone, St. Louis, The Bethany- 
Press, 1932. 

Publications by Dr. John Tomline Walsh: 

Anastasis: or, A Review of a Discourse on the Resur- 
rection from the Dead 
A Book of Sermons 
Free Masonry 

Foot-washing in Patriarchial, Jewish, and Christian 

Immortality: A Review of Rev. Luther Lee 
Life and Times of John Tomline Walsh, M.D. 
Looking Down the Ages from a Prophetic Stand- 

Moody's Theology Examined 
Nature and Duration of Future Punishment 
Salvation from Sin: Or, What Must I Do to be 

Universalism Exposed from the Inner Temple 


The Scripturalist 

The Southern Review (Literary) 

The American Son of Temperance 

The Biblical Examiner 

The Herald of the Truth 

The Christian Friend 

The Friend and Unionist 

The American Christian Preacher 

The Disciples Advocate 

The Christian Baptist 

The Christian Visitor 

The Watch Toiver 

The Living Age